Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crockpot Gingerbread Latte

Well, since I have to be the designated driver tonight and I'll be up later than my usual time, I thought it would be a good time to try the Gingerbread Latte recipe I've kept bookmarked from A Year of Crockpotting. As the Wassail turned out so yummy on Christmas Eve, I think it's worth giving another of her drink recipes a go. Even more exciting as the local Starbucks shut down and I couldn't get any warm liquid holiday cheer the usual way.

4 c milk (2% or lower is best to not worry about curdling)
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup strong black coffee, or a freshly-brewed shot of espresso (per drink)

Put milk into crockpot, and whisk in the dried spices. Don't add the coffee. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, or high for 1-2. The milk should be quite hot, but don't let it boil. Pour over hot coffee or espresso.

Optional: top with whipped cream
Note: Can cause serious sugar/caffeine high!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tofu and Vegetable Green Curry

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup (75g) green curry paste
4 spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 sm-med pepper/capsicum
1 sm eggplant
400ml can light coconut milk
1/2 tsp coriander, or to taste
100g green beans, cut into 3cm lengths
300g firm silken tofu, drained, cut into thick strips
2-3 basil leaves or a dash ground basil leaves
steamed rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a large deep frypan or wok over medium heat, then add the paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the spring onion, fish sauce, sugar, broccoli, red pepper, green beans, coconut milk, basil leaves, coriander and 1 cup (250ml) boiling water. Stir to combine and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, then gently stir in tofu. Serve over rice.
*Variations on veg are always acceptable in a curry. I'm skipping the green beans and using plum tomatoes, as they were on sale today;) My only warning would be don't overload on the veg or you won't have enough 'sauce'
Pssst, if anyone has a favourite suggestion for green curry paste please recommend!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Review of Christmas at Our House

As the original post was long enough already, thought I'd begin a new one to let you know how things worked, out since I was trying a few different things. The first thing I made was Mary's rum cake and it was fantastic. My fears about the vanilla yogurt being a poor substitute for instant vanilla pudding (which I couldn't find here in Oz) were unfounded. Two tips: make sure not to over-bake or it will dry out and use all of the glaze. Primo! A Year of Crockpotting is going to be my new source for beverage recipes, especially as Starbucks in Adelaide has shut down. I think Gingerbread Latte will be next. The wassail was excellent, even though I used regular apple juice instead of cider (didn't pay enough attention and I think it may be difficult to find anyway). Steve and I drank the entire crock pot of it that night! The lamb rogan josh was good, and I may need to try some more Indian recipes, as it was much easier than I thought. I found paneer cheese at the grocery store here so something with that will be next:) Oysters have the consistency of post-nasal drip...yuck! Perhaps you simply need to cook them longer. The ribs were excellent with KC Masterpiece bbq sauce and the cole slaw was really nice, although next time I think I may shred the slaw in the food processor. Now on to New Year! Will be testing out some Thai style curries;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothies

I've been experimenting with smoothies lately. Have made strawberry-banana, mango and mango-strawberry so far. It's a great way to get some fruit and yogurt in and a quick brekkie.

Plain yogurt
Honey (optional)

Just put all in blender. Play around with amounts to get the consistency and flavour to taste.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Basic Vegetarian Curry

This curry does not include a particular curry paste or curry powder, but spices instead. I was worried it might be a bit bland but it was really tasty. Serving over rice is optional, especially if you are warming it up for leftovers, as all the juice will cook off 2nd time around. You can also leave out the chickpeas and simply add a couple more potatoes. Another option is to take a bit out and pop it in the blender if you like a creamier curry.

1 package frozen vegetables of your choice
1 can chickpeas
2-3 small potatoes, chopped into small pieces & cooked
2/3 c vegetable stock
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger or powder
1 finely sliced clove of fresh garlic
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chili powder (or more, to taste)
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil

Heat oil in a non-stick fry pan and fry the onions, garlic, cumin and coriander for five minutes. Add potato, frozen veg, chick peas, ginger, turmeric and chili powders, vegetable stock, salt & pepper. Cook on medium heat for fifteen or twenty minutes. Serve over rice.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lamb & Mushroom Kofta

I grabbed this one from Boozy Susie and modified it just very slightly. I lurve my food processor today. Actually, I always love it but I used it twice today and it just made this recipe soooo easy.

1 cup mushrooms
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
parsley, to taste (I used dried, although fresh would probably be nicer)
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
500g lamb mince
salt & pepper, to taste
olive oil

Melt butter in large frying pan over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook whilst stiring for 5 min or until tender. Set aside. Combine parsley, onion, garlic and spices in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add mushrooms and mince and process until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Use hands to mould mixture into meatball sized balls. Place on a plate or tray and pop in fridge for 30 minutes. Heat olive oil in pan and fry until cooked through, or place on metal skewers and bbq or grill.

*Served with homemade hummus and store bought tabouli;)

**I also think these would make great burgers, perhaps with a tzatziki sauce mmmm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tofu & Vegetable Red Curry

1/4 cup water
1 medium onion, sliced up
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp bottled red-curry paste
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 (1-lb) package frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh to your preference)
1 (14- to 16-oz) block firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
rice, to serve

Cook onion in oil in a wok. Reduce heat, then add garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, salt, and 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Stir in vegetables and return to a boil. Cover pot, then reduce heat and cook at a brisk simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Gently stir in tofu and simmer curry, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in fish sauce and salt to taste. Serve curry with rice.
*Usual modifications: I skipped the tofu and used broccoli, plum tomatoes and a can of chinese veggies

Eggplant with Tofu & Red Pepper

You can either use tofu or just throw in a package of frozen veg if you're not keen on tofu.

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil
10 oz tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
chili powder, to taste
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
rice, to serve

In a bowl, mix oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil; set aside. Heat tbsp olive oil in a large pan or nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Sauté tofu about 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to low and add remaining tbsp olive oil, and garlic; sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and eggplant. Raise heat to medium. Stir-fry 10 minutes, flipping eggplant after 5 minutes to cook on each side. Add oyster sauce mixture and stir well. Add tofu to pan and mix. Serve over rice.
*You can also use fresh chiles instead of chili powder
**I also used plum tomatoes as I had them

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas at Our House

I'm stealing other people's recipes for Christmas eve and Boxing Day, and eating at the in-laws on the day, aside from brekkie.

Christmas Eve
Wassail in the Crockpot, from A Year of CrockPotting
Lamb Rogan Josh, from Boozy Susie

Mary's Rum Cake:
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts
glace cherries (my optional addition to the recipe)
1 18 1/2 oz. pkg yellow cake mix (or make your own!)
1 3 3/4 oz. pkg Jell-o vanilla instant pudding/pie filling
4 eggs
1/2 c cold water
1/2 c oil
1/2 c dark rum

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 c water
1 c sugar
1/2 c dark rum

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease & flour 10" tube or Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts & glace cherries over bottom of pan. Mix all cake ingredients together. Bake 1 hour. Invert on serving plate after cooling on wire rack. For glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Prick top of inverted cake with toothpicks and drizzle and smooth glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until glaze is used up.

Christmas Day
Shrimp & Blue Cheese Oysters for brekkie, the latter from Intercourses, an Aphrodisiac Cookbook

Blue Cheese Oysters:
1/2 c cumbled blue cheese
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 c seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp butter, softened
8 shucked oysters, on the half shell

Mix blue cheese, garlic, breadcrumbs and butter. Arrange oysters on a baking tray and top with mix. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 minutes.

Boxing Day
A cheese, pate and olive platter
Paula's Ribs
Homemade Cole Slaw, from Closet Cooking

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sweety Pies

Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, with Pie is my cookbook recommendation for the year. Of all the cookbooks on my shelf, this one is my favourite by far. Over the past couple of months, I've made a lot of pies. Not all of them have come out of this book, but the ones that have, have been amazing. I'll shortly be doing a repeat of both the Old-Time Chocolate Meringue Pie (which I'd describe as a chocolate pudding pie) and Frankie's Coconut Pie. At the moment, there are about 6 more recipes tagged for trying over the next few months. I love making pies (although I have to admit, I haven't yet made my own crust, shhhh). They're easy and beautiful.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Another recipe from Baking Bites that I've been keeping bookmarked.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth. Pour filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices. Store in the fridge.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pineapple Buttermilk Meringue Pie

I've been eyeing this recipe for a while.

9-in pie crust, prebaked
20-oz can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from canned pineapple)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (or make your own with milk & vinegar)
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F. Drain can of crushed pineapple and reserve 1/2 cup of pineapple juice. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Stir in pineapple, reserved pineapple juice, buttermilk, egg yolks and lemon juice. Stir well, then turn on the stove to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture just comes to a boil and thickens. Be careful not to burn. It will have a lemon curd type of consistency with slow bubbles when it is done. Cover pan and cool to room temperature.

While filling cools, prepare the meringue. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in vanilla extract.

Pour cooled pie filling into baked pie shell. Top with meringue, spreading it to the edges of the pie crust to cover the filling completely. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake pie at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Cool, then refrigerate before serving.